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Wired for Wealth: Change the Money Mindsets That Keep You Trapped and Unleash Your Wealth Potential

Wired for Wealth: Change the Money Mindsets That Keep You Trapped and Unleash Your Wealth Potential

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Wired for Wealth: Change the Money Mindsets That Keep You Trapped and Unleash Your Wealth Potential

210 pages
4 hours
Jan 1, 2010


Neuroscience and money are being bandied about from Wall Street to Main Street, with people realizing that what goes on in their brain directly impacts their bank account. As financial stress mounts and an economic crash looms, the Wired for Wealth authors show that the biggest threat to your financial health is not a recession, it's your mindset. Markets fluctuate but one fact holds true: People's money scripts—the unconscious core beliefs they hold about money—will determine whether they win or lose. With Wired for Wealth, three respected experts explain their proven Money Makeover Program that has helped clients break through excessive debt, financial stress, self-sabotage, money avoidance, and more.
Jan 1, 2010

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Wired for Wealth - Brad Klontz




Change the Money Mindsets

That Keep You Trapped and

Unleash Your Wealth Potential



Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

is available through the Library of Congress.

© 2008 Brad Klontz, Ted Klontz, and Rick Kahler

eISBN-13: 978-0-7573-9767-7 (ebook)      eISBN-10: 0-7573-9767-0 (ebook)

The names, locations, and other identifying information of the individuals in this book have been changed to protect their privacy. This book contains general information and is not intended to be, nor should it be, used as a substitute for specific medical or psychological advice.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher.

HCI, its logos, and marks are trademarks of Health Communications, Inc.

Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.

              3201 S.W. 15th Street

              Deerfield Beach, FL 33442-8190

Cover design by Justin Rotkowitz

Interior design and formatting by Dawn Von Strolley Grove




Chapter One    The Science and Psychology of

Money Scripts

Chapter Two    The Top Ten Money Scripts

That Mess Up People’s Financial Lives

Chapter Three   Your Financial Comfort Zone:

Do You Need to Break Out?

Chapter Four    When Money Scripts Keep You Poor

Chapter Five     When Money Scripts Keep

You Poor in Spirit

Chapter Six       Money Scripts That Promote Wealth

Chapter Seven   Money Scripts: What’s Your

Family Legacy?

Chapter Eight    Financial Rehab: Rewiring Your Money

Scripts—The Five-Step Process

Chapter Nine    When Money Scripts Collide:

Couples in Conflict

Chapter Ten      Raising Financially Healthy Children

Chapter Eleven   Change Your Money Mindsets

and Create the Life You Want


We would like to acknowledge the many people who have supported and continue to support our work. Special thanks first to our spouses: Joni Wada, Margie Zugich, and Marcia Kahler. Without your love, patience, encouragement, and support, this book would not have been possible.

Brad also thanks family members Wanda and James Turner and John and Diane Wada for their ongoing encouragement. Ted appreciates daughter Brenda for handling the all-so-important day-to-day issues, as well as granddaughter Morgan, daughter-in-law Joni, and son-in-law Antoine for their vision and support. Rick is grateful for daughter London and son Davin, who are amazing and the light of his life. He thanks his loyal associates, Darla Creal and Lindsay Luper, for keeping his financial planning clients fully supported and cared for.

Thanks also to the many financial planners, coaches, therapists, and clients we have worked with and learned from over the years. You have been our greatest teachers. We are grateful to our editor, Kathleen Fox, for her contributions, conscientiousness, and hard work. Thanks to Dr. Alex Bivens for his assistance in analyzing our survey data. Thanks also to the great staff at Health Communications, Inc., including Peter Vegso, Gary Seidler, Allison Janse, and KimWeiss.

We also want to acknowledge and honor one another. Our partnership, shared vision, and commitment have helped us forge a new path in integrating financial planning and psychology, and our friendship continues to enrich our lives.


What’s the formula for achieving wealth?

While we can learn much by studying the methods of people who have achieved wealth, many successful people would have difficulty telling you exactly what they did that made the difference. They just worked long hours, kept trying, didn’t give up, and made it big. Everyone is different, and it can be very difficult to replicate someone else’s method of achieving success.

Although the secret to achieving wealth can’t be distilled into a tidy one-size-fits-all formula, the truth is that people who are wealthy think and act differently from those who are not. And in fact, there are discernable patterns of beliefs and behaviors about money that are associated with wealth, and there are patterns that are associated with poverty and financial chaos. These patterns represent your money mindsets, or the ways you think about money and your resulting actions.

The exciting news is that you can change your money mind-sets. If your pattern of thinking about money is associated with destructive financial behaviors, financial distress, and poverty, you can change that pattern to one that is associated with wealth. Regardless of your starting point or your financial situation, you can quite literally rewire your brain for wealth. This book shows you how.

Changing your money mindsets is not a gimmick. It is a process, based on psychological principles and research, to help you identify and change your mental and emotional blocks to success. While this process is intended to help you make money, it will also help you achieve authentic wealth. Certainly, having enough money is a fundamental part of authentic wealth. However, studies consistently show what we know in our hearts to be true: money and material possessions alone bring nothing more than the most fleeting happiness. Providing well for your family, being able to have and do the things that matter to you, and enjoying financial security are all important. Following the advice and completing the exercises in this book will help you remove the barriers that keep you from becoming rich.

Equally important, however, is the ability to use financial wealth to support a balanced, fulfilling, passionate life. Financial success is only one of the many benefits that can come from changing your money mindsets. A change in mindsets will also allow you to enjoy the wealth you may already have. Rewiring the money beliefs that block your financial potential can lead to wiser financial choices, more balance in your life concerning money, improved relationships, and increased wealth and financial comfort.

As important as these benefits are, changing your money mindsets can transform your life in even more significant ways. This is due to the incredible consequences of money-related stress. When money is a source of stress, that stress influences every aspect of your life. Recent research has shown that stress about money issues affects not only your mental state but also your physical health. A June 2008 poll conducted by the Associated Press suggests that stress about money matters is an important health factor. People who worried about money reported more migraines, ulcers, anxiety, and incidences of severe depression. You have limited control over many external factors that affect your financial environment (for example, job loss, recession, high-tech bubble burst, subprime mortgage crunch). What you can control, however, are your own thoughts and subsequent actions (or inaction) within that environment. In our clinical, professional, and personal experience, these internal factors will be the major determinant of your ultimate success.

Accepting your role—and the fact that you have one—in your financial situation is the first step in ensuring that you don’t continue to make the same mistakes. Using the tools in this book, you can examine and learn to change the beliefs you have about money that are not serving you well. You can learn how to rewire your beliefs to set you on a path to financial success and less money stress.

Wired for Wealth is based on a combination of hands-on experience and research. We are pioneers in the practical application of the psychology of personal finance and wealth. Dr. Brad Klontz is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and researcher. Dr. Ted Klontz has been a psychotherapist and life coach for more than thirty-five years. Rick Kahler has been a fee-only certified financial planner for twenty-five years. We all work with clients on a daily basis, and together we have decades of experience in helping clients to build wealth, change self-limiting patterns of behavior, and create more fulfilling lives.

Much of the work in the emerging field of neuroeconomics, which combines the fields of psychology and finance, focuses on laboratory studies that identify the common mental errors that people make. This research is then applied to helping people make better investing decisions. Much of this research has been expertly reviewed by Jason Zweig in his groundbreaking book Your Money and Your Mind.

Wired for Wealth goes far beyond specific investing advice and mental tricks. Our goal is for you to entirely transform your relationship with money so it becomes a generous partner that works to support your goals. Rather than reviewing the common mental errors of investors, our tested transformational exercises give you an intimate opportunity to examine and change your unique limiting money mindsets.

For this book, we also did something quite novel in the field of wealth coaching: we conducted research. Rather than hypothesizing what a wealthy mindset is or just giving you our opinion about what has worked for us and our clients, we researched the money beliefs and behaviors of those with wealth and those without. Our goal was to learn what, if anything, distinguished their thinking from one another. We found a clear connection between beliefs and wealth, with some surprising results.

Although financial education, positive thinking, and positive visualization are all valuable, these techniques are just the beginning, rather than the end, of the process of rewiring our brains for wealth. For most of us, information is just not enough to change our behaviors. For example, we all know that we should save for the future and not spend more than we make. Nevertheless, in recent years Americans have accumulated a great deal of personal debt and have saved very little. Although we know better, we are obviously not doing what we know we should do.

In many cases, there is a block to putting your knowledge into action. Until you confront this barrier, change is not likely to happen. The barrier consists not only of self-limiting statements and beliefs but also of social, family, and psychological issues. To address this gap, we developed a change process that integrates the fields of financial planning and financial psychology to help people reduce their financial stress and improve their financial health. The integration of expertise in these two fields sets our work apart from the typical financial advice.

Our transformative work was first featured in Jeff Zaslow’s Moving On column in the The Wall Street Journal in 2003. Since then, it has received a great deal of attention in the fields of finance and psychology, and it has been featured in several media sources, including NBC’s Today show, National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Money magazine, and Good Morning America.

Our process of transformation is more than a theory. We have observed the successful transformation of many clients, including those whose stories have been adapted for this book. We also conducted scientific research on whether people actually change after going through a money makeover process. This clinical outcome study, conducted from 2004 to 2006, was one of the first to involve changing a client’s money beliefs and behaviors.

The study evaluated people who participated in financial therapy through a process, similar to the one described in this book, of rewiring their money mindsets by identifying their money beliefs, examining their financial patterns, exploring their past experiences with money, and rewriting their money beliefs. These individuals experienced significant and lasting positive changes, including improvements in mood, decreased anxiety about money, and improvements in overall financial and psychological health. The study was published in the August 2008 edition of Psychological Services, a journal of the American Psychological Association.

Our latest research involves a comprehensive study of money beliefs and financial behaviors that we conducted from May to July 2008. We examined the beliefs and behaviors of 422 people from all walks of life, income levels, and levels of net worth. Here are some general statistics about the participants:

• The age range was eighteen to eighty, with 70 percent between the ages of thirty-one and sixty.

• Women made up 65 percent of the group, and men made up 35 percent.

• Most had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

• Most were employed full-time by someone else or were self-employed.

• Yearly income ranged from less than $10,000 to more than $1 million.

• Net worth ranged from less than zero (owing more money than the total worth of one’s assets) to more than $10 million.

• Credit card debt from the previous month was carried by 40 percent.

• More than $10,000 in credit card debt from the previous month was carried by 10 percent.

• Bankruptcy had been filed for by 7 percent at some time in the past.

• In terms of socioeconomic status, 40 percent were raised in middle-class families, 32 percent were raised in lower-middle-class or working-class families, 21 percent were raised in upper-middle-class families, 5 percent were raised in poor families, and 2 percent were raised in wealthy families.

• In terms of home ownership, 54 percent owned a home with a mortgage, 18 percent owned a home without a mortgage, and 19 percent were renting.

• In terms of marital status, 56 percent were married, 8 percent were not married but were living with a significant other, 20 percent had never married, and 16 percent were separated, divorced, or widowed.

This survey revealed some striking differences between the beliefs of the wealthy and of those who struggle financially. We also found some major differences in beliefs and behavior between men and women and between younger adults and older adults—some of which might not bode well for either the retiring baby boomers or the up-and-coming boomerang generation. This is hardly surprising, given the recent rapid rise in consumerism, the easy availability of consumer credit, and our current have to have it now culture.

Throughout this book, we’ll deconstruct the mindsets of the wealthy and the poor, and we’ll teach you to rewire your way of thinking about money. Using real client examples, we’ll show you how to identify your harmful money patterns, and we’ll offer you tools to give yourself a financial health makeover.

Before you read further, we encourage you to take the money beliefs self-test at the beginning of Chapter 1. Your answers will reveal whether your thinking about money more closely matches the thinking of those who are wealthy or those who are not. As our study results demonstrate, successful people and unsuccessful people have different patterns of thinking about money. Your thoughts and beliefs about money do have a significant impact on your financial health and your potential for achieving wealth and success. We will show you not only how you formed your money beliefs but also how you can rewire those beliefs and form new patterns that will help you to bring authentic wealth and abundance into your life.




Please take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire that follows, which is taken from the survey we used in our research. Each item listed is a money script, or a belief about money. Later in the book, you’ll have the opportunity to compare your answers to our research findings. Your answers can reveal a great deal about your wealth potential.

Place an X in the box that best describes the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. Please answer all the items.



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